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by FB

It was a good concert, it just wasn't a great concert. The energy was there, the cheering and singing from the crowd was fantastic, the interaction with the audience was great (though I do think it's a little cheesy to hear that Bono says, "My name is Paul but I call myself Bono" every single night -- too staged by far), the lighting and sound were cool ... but. It's the set list that disappointed me.

The highlight of this tour, what EVERYONE has been talking about, is that U2 closes with "40". For this die hard, 20+ year fan, who has seen U2 11 times since 1987, I was very much looking forward to that -- I couldn't wait. Highlight of the entire show, to feel that 'oneness' with the crowd, that we're-all-in-this-together camaraderie that you feel after leaving a U2 show and singing "How long to sing this song?" long after the band has left the stage. I had been looking forward to "40" since I got tickets to the show back in February.

And then they didn't play it. Not only that, but they -- needlessly, in my opinion -- played "Vertigo" AGAIN. Why? It's a fantastic song, great energy ... but twice? Not necessary. Especially at the expense of "40". Hugely disappointing. Add to that no "With or Without You" (which they have been recently introducing into the sets, and I was so hoping to hear), no "New York", which would have been so very fitting to hear (and when Bono turned to the other three and said they were going to play a song that wasn't on the list, I was really hoping that would be it, but no ...), no "Angel of Harlem" (which would have been also very appropos) ...

On top of that, I felt the acoustic "Yahweh" and "Original of the Species" towards the end really lowered the energy level and instead of going out on a high, it felt a little too tepid. Acoustic songs are wonderful and U2 do them so well, but their placement in the set I think would be better served earlier rather than later, as not to disrupt the energy. The different arrangements for the introduction of "Elevation" (also acoustic, with the crowd singing) and "Streets" (with the African chanting) was ... interesting. I didn't hate it, but as those are two of my favourites, I really would have liked to have heard them the way they were intended to be.

Don't get me wrong, change is good, and even when U2 throws curveballs I don't necessarily like or agree with, it's still a mindblowing show that puts all other bands to shame. They owned MSG Saturday night, and I was proud and happy to be a part of it, even though it didn't leave me with that ecstatic, spiritual 'afterglow' feeling that I always get after any U2 gig. Oh well, maybe in September ...

ps: On a positive note, the Bowie cover was blistering and totally kicked ass! :)

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